| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 7 An upgrade of New York's Empire
State Building has reduced the skyscraper's energy use by more
than expected, the project's partners said on Monday.
The work, which began in 2009 and included improving the
tower's 6,500 windows and an upgrade of its automation systems,
has saved $2.41 million in the first full year since most of the
work was completed. That is 5 percent above what engineers at
Johnson Controls Inc promised as part of their $20
million contract for the work.
The savings are part of an expected 38-percent reduction in
the building's energy use within three years, saving $4.4
million in annual operating costs.
Contractor Johnson Controls guaranteed the bulk of the
savings, with the rest to come from the renovation of tenant
spaces and work such as new systems for tenants to monitor
The Empire State Building is now 20 percent more energy
efficient, and similar efficiency improvements can be achieved
in most commercial buildings, Johnson Controls said. The
retrofit's partners also included project manager Jones Lang
LaSalle, The Clinton Climate Initiative and the Rocky
Johnson Controls will now work with the building and its
tenants to manage energy use, said Dave Myers, who heads the
Milwaukee-based company's building efficiency business. Under
the terms of its performance contract, the company has
guaranteed 20 percent savings for 15 years.
"It's very clear in existing buildings there is a tremendous
opportunity to save energy," Myers said.
Retrofits of U.S. commercial buildings are forecast to
become a $16 billion market by 2020.
The Empire State Building's owners aim to use their
experience as an example for policymakers, and for other
building owners, to spur a wider embrace of projects that
modernize aging buildings in the United States.
"I think we're going to find out that these are not future
savings being pulled forward, that we're going to end up with
better result overall," said Tony Malkin, President of Malkin
Holdings, the building's owner.
Malkin said he hopes making data available from the Empire
State retrofit will spur legislation to create incentives for
building owners for more such projects, which are
labor-intensive and create jobs. For example, federal tax rules
could create tax deductions for capital investments in energy
efficiency; government could also provide financing guarantees.
Proponents of retrofits had few concrete examples of
measurable, large-scale energy savings before the Empire State
Building project, Malkin said.
"This is practice which can inform policy," he said.